Skip to main content

tv   Politics Nation  MSNBC  August 30, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

3:00 pm
and glad to hear a lot of what you and adam were talking about. have a great weekend. >> you too, my friend. thanks. thanks to you for tuning in. tonight's lead, making the case. today president obama made it clear. syria will have to answer for what the secretary of state called a, quote, brutal and flagrant use of chemical weapons against its own citizens. it comes just hours after white house intelligence report was released. detailing the horrors within that country and the evidence that it has against the assad regime. the president met earlier today with his national security team. and while he confirmed that no final decision has been made, he said the atrocities cannot be ignored. >> this kind of attack is a challenge to the world. we cannot accept a world where
3:01 pm
women and children and innocent civilians are gassed on a terrible scale. this kind of attack threatens our national security interests by violating well established international norms against the use of chemical weapons, by further threatening friends and allies of ours in the region like israel and turkey and jordan, and it increases the risk that chemical weapons will be used in the future and fall into the hands of terrorists who might use them against us. >> his comments come after secretary of state kerry laid out a forceful case for a strike against syria. >> the american intelligence community has high confidence, high confidence. this is common sense. this is evidence. these are facts. so the primary question is
3:02 pm
really no longer what do we know. the question is what do we, we collectively, what are we in the world going to do about it? >> in great detail, secretary kerry presented the evidence that put the assad regime behind the chemical attack that left more than 1400 dead, including 426 children. that included intercepted communications from a top syrian office who confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime on august 21st and was concerned with the u.n. inspectors obtaining evidence. the report came after a very disturbing video shot by the bbc has surfaced on another attack this past monday on a school there. rebels claim the assad regime
3:03 pm
bombed the area with a napalm-like substance, killing ten and injuring dozens more. today the administration made the case that images like this require action, even though this country is weary of war. >> we know that after a decade of conflict, the american people are tired of war. believe me, i am too. but fatigue does not absolve us of our responsibility. just longing for peace does not necessarily bring it about. and history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator's wanton use of weapons of mass destruction against all warnings, against all common understanding of decency. >> the world waits for a decision. joining me now is nbc news white
3:04 pm
house correspondent christian welker, and brian katoulis, who is a senior fell at the american center for progress. thank you both for coming on the show tonight. >> good to be with you. >> thank you. >> kristen, what can you tell us about decision-making going on at the white house? >> well, reverend al, i think what we heard today that it is essentially no longer a ways of if but when we will see some type of action coming from this white house. president obama has said he hasn't actually made a decision yet. but i believe that it's essentially what type of action we'll take. that's the decision he is trying to determine at this point in time. the president saying that it would be a limited strike. that would essentially mean a cruise missile fired from warships. we know there are five warships in the mediterranean, some submarines right now.
3:05 pm
this is a strike if it would take place that would last from two to three days. it would be limited in scope. the president, secretary of state john kerry making it very clear that they do not intend to engage the united states in another iraq. having said all of that, reverend al, as you know, the united states had wanted a broad international coalition. they didn't get that. just yesterday the british parliament voted no to military engagement. >> over the plea of mr. cameron, i believe, that cameron has pushed for this. >> absolutely. >> and they rejected it anyway. anyway, let me go to you a minute on this, brian. the president as kristen said he was at this point considering limited and narrow military response. listen to this. >> in no event are we considering any kind of military action that would involve boots on the ground, that would involve a long-term campaign, but we are looking at the
3:06 pm
possibility of a limited, narrow act that would help make sure that not only syria, but others around the world understand that the international community cares about maintaining this chemical weapons ban. >> now brian, limited, no boots on the ground, targeted, and i understand saying they would not use any funds that is not already in defense. so it wouldn't take away from any other domestic programs. now, for many of us, including me that opposed the war and oppose any interventions like this, does this -- does this do you think limit a lot of those that would have active opposition to move at this point? >> i actually think it doesn't. i think the president and secretary kerry did a very good job making the case that of the assad regime use chemical weapons on their people. it's horrific to see the impact
3:07 pm
on those people. what they did not do today is actually adequately address the potential risks of even a limited and targeted strike. it's crystal clear that they're not doing what they did in iraq here. there aren't troops going in or anything like that. but there are multiple threats that could result as a reaction to even limited strikes. you've got terrorist organizations in syria that might use this as an opportunity to strike against israel and other allies in the united states. you've got even the possibility that the assad regime could take a strike like this and use it to actually use chemical weapons again. there is no guarantee that a limited strike would actually serve as a deterrent, which is a core argument that the administration is making. so the main point i've got to stress, and i think there is so much uncertainty even with such a limited strike as defined by the president has deemed. >> now kristen, how important is public opinion to the white house? are they weighing and gauging
3:08 pm
public opinion as the president moves toward his decision? >> well, i think they are. and i think they have been for quite some time. they've been aware of the fact. and in my conversations with senior administration officials here, they have pointed to the fact that this is a war weary nation. that is one of the reasons why you have seen this president take such a deliberate response to find out how to respond to this latest chemical weapons attack. a poll shows that 50% of americans are opposed to military intervention. however, if you ask them more specifically about a limited attack, 50% of americans actually say that they could get behind that. but almost 8 in 10 say look, they want congress to vote on this. we know that some members of congress have come forward and said they would like to vote on this. i have to tell you, i don't see that happening as of right now. you have house speaker john boehner calling for broader consultations with congress. however, the language is
3:09 pm
interesting, reverend al. house speaker john boehner is not calling for a vote right now. you have congressional leaders who aren't necessarily calling for a vote. what they do want is more consultation with congress. >> now, brian, syria has come out now and said that what secretary kerry is saying is baseless and a lie. and the president, as christian just said he too is tired of war, but that we have an obligation as a world leader. take a listen. >> i'm very clear that the world is generally war-weary. certainly the united states has gone through over a decade of war. the people understandably want us to be focused on the business of rebuilding our economy here and putting people back to work. and i assure you nobody ends up being more war-weary than me. >> now you have him saying he is
3:10 pm
war-weary, but that we have an obligation. and he is going to be targeted, no resources from domestic spending. we're faced some of us was with sudan or rwanda. how do we deal with the atrocities, but at the same time not going to a military action, brian? what would you say would be the way the white house could respond without the risk that you feel? >> the biggest thing they need to do, and i think they're doing this some degree is to get other partners, especially those that are in the region to pull their weight, okay. the expectation that the united states should do it all, i think really we should throw away, because you've got so many countries in the region that benefit from u.s. military assistance already. including jordan, turkey, israel, many of the gulf states that have been prodding the united states and in fact criticizing president obama for not doing enough on syria could actually do more to mitigate the
3:11 pm
risks of what looks like to be a likely cruise missile strike by the united states. so i think that's the number one thing is we've got to get beyond this era, which i think we saw very clearly under president bush over the previous decade if it's not just us, no one else is going to do it. and we've got to demand more from other countries, and quite frankly those countries in the region that are neighboring syria are the ones that are threatened the most by the conflict there. >> all right. kristen welker and brian catoulis, thank you both for your time this evening. >> thank you, reverend al. ahead, military action in the shadow of the gulf war. the grave moral dimension of the decision facing president obama. also, in the wake of the republican snub of the march on washington, bill o'reilly is on the defensive. and on a week we celebrate progress, it's the remarkable story of a man with a front row
3:12 pm
seat to civil rights history. why the butler movie moved the president to tears. my interview with "the butler" director and hollywood ground breaker lee daniels is coming up. sup homies?! ready in a minute dad. what's the 411? i can meet you in the car. nah, bro! i'm cool. i'm just chillmaxin'. is there something that you wanted? we can't just spend a little qt as a posse? on the download? dad, why are you talking like that? i was just hoping you would give me the last piece of bacon. holler! holla... i don't know. [ male announcer ] when it comes to common language we all speak bacon. the very best cuts naturally hardwood smoked. it's unanimous food. it's oscar mayer.
3:13 pm
female narrator: through monday, get three years through monday, get three years interest-free financing and save up to $400
3:14 pm
on beautyrest and posturepedic. even get three years interest-free financing on serta icomfort and tempur-pedic, but this special financing offer ends labor day at sleep train. have you joined the "politicsnation" conversation on face book yet? we hope you will. it seems everyone on our site is talking about the big republican snub for the commemoration of the march on washington. nancy says this is another example of lip service that they are for equal rights. action speak louder than words. jimmy says this is not how you get the african-american vote.
3:15 pm
it sure doesn't help. and remell says 90% of the people there didn't need an invitation. good point, remell. coming up, we are learning exactly where some of those republicans were instead of the march. it really shows their priorities. but first, we want you to tell us what you think. please head over to facebook and search "politicsnation" and like us to join the conversation that keeps going long the show ends. waiting to look younger? don't wait. [ female announcer ] get younger looking skin fast. with new olay regenerist micro-sculpting cream. the next generation with 2 new anti-aging ingredients. it penetrates rapidly. visible wrinkle results start day 1. and you'll see younger looking skin before you even finish one jar. ♪ new olay regenerist. the wait is over.
3:16 pm
it's delicious. so now we've turned her toffee into a business. my goal was to take an idea and make it happen. i'm janet long and i formed my toffee company through legalzoom. i never really thought i would make money doing what i love. [ robert ] we created legalzoom to help people start their business and launch their dreams. go to today and make your business dream a reality. at we put the law on your side. making the moral case for
3:17 pm
military action? the entire world has seen the videos. syrian people attacked by chemical weapons. today the white house released much more intelligence, saying there is compelling evidence the syrian government launched the attack. secretary of state john kerry said the u.s. can't tolerate that. >> it matters because a lot of other countries whose policies challenge these international enormous are watching. they are watching. they want to see whether the united states and our friends mean what we say. it is directly related to our credibility and whether countries still believe the united states when it says something. they are watching to see if syria can get away with it, because then maybe they too can put the world at greater risk. >> the world is watching as the president weighs a major decision. and looming over him is the
3:18 pm
shadow of our involvement in iraq. >> not a repetition of iraq, which i know a lot of people are worried about. >> more than mindful of the iraq experience. we will not repeat that moment. >> it's a certain suspicion of any military action post iraq. >> no one wants another iraq. but is there a moral need to get involved here? joining me melissa harry's perry and e.j. dionne. both for your time. >> thank you. >> good to be with you, reverend. >> melissa, this is a big debate there is no question the attacks in syria are awful. but what is your take on going to work? >> look so, this president we know is a student of history. and so he has two examples in recent history. he has president clinton who did not intervene in rwanda in the context of genocide.
3:19 pm
and of course he has samantha power and susan rice there from that administration. so undoubtedly, he is weighing that. he is also of course got the most immediate president who took us into the war in iraq on faulty -- >> right. >> at best, faulty intelligence, and embroiled us in a decade-long war. and then he is also a student of a longer history. we heard there from secretary kerry when he said this is about the credibility of the united states, about our strength sort of in general as we do the work of the world. so even beyond this immediate point. and so he knows from world war ii and from world war i what happened in that interworld period how important that america's word be its bond. and yet, and yet the reality is we have a very difficult location as a nation standing on moral a30. people want national security claim, not a moral one. >> now, e.j., as melissa laid
3:20 pm
this out, i remember in '90s, the early '90s the whole problem with the clinton administration not doing something about rwanda. i'm opposed to war. i'm certainly opposed to unilateral intervention. but i went to rwanda, and i said the clinton administration should do something. so you are caught here as melissa just laid out between which pool of history, what do you see? and when you look at the fact that we are remembering all too well after you get past rwanda, the lead-up to the iraq war, and today former president bush was actually asked about syria. watch this. >> i was not a fan of mr. assad. he's an ally of iran and he's made mischief. >> and what about the rest of the world saying well, we're not really too sure. we're going wait for the u.n.
3:21 pm
you've been through that before. >> the president has to make a tough call, brian. i know you're trying to subtly rope me into the issues of the day. i refuse to be roped in. putting military into harm's way is the toughest decision a president will make. >> the toughest decision a president can make. how can president obama prevent them from being another iraq, e.j.? >> you know, i think that as melissa laid out, there are competing histories here, and the competing histories are why progressives and democrats are really split on this. in the nbc poll, i think democrats are 46-46 down the middle on whether we should attack syria or not. and a lot of it is which past you remember. do you remember bosnia, kosovo, and rwanda, or do you remember iraq? there is something very eerie almost about watching john kerry today. i thought it was an effective speech. but what came to mind was colin powell who also gave an
3:22 pm
effective speech. i think in fairness, i think the evidence here is better. and i have concluded reluctantly that we have no choice but to do this, because we do have to -- it's more than send a message. we've got to take action to say that there was a line crossed here that we don't want crossed again. and that is the line of using chemical weapons. and it's particularly gruesome in a way used against your own people. but thing is a lot of legitimate worry out there about what happens the day after and the day after that. i think the president wants to do this in a way that doesn't get us engaged deeply. but it's going to have to affect the balance of power inside the civil war some or it won't be a very effective response to the use of chemical weapons. >> but melissa, how does the president do it in a way that he controls that it can be in and out? >> and see, this is the challenge. because syria is not a country that has a strong internal civil
3:23 pm
society with a set of organizations that are prepared to come in and take power if and when assad's government goes away, right. it is very difficult to imagine how this does not become a long-term entanglement if our goal is to destabilize or come in on one side of this civil war question. the alternative people for governing in syria do not necessarily look any better in terms of world human rights questions. >> no doubt about it. you know, e.j., the president's ambassador to the u.n., samantha power, who melissa mentioned, worked as a journalist and scholar on human rights and genocide. and she has written, quote, when innocent life is being taken on such a scale and the united states has the power to stop the killing at reasonable risk, it has a duty to act. the u.s. has a duty to stop killing. is this the theory that you think the president is considering action under?
3:24 pm
well, i think partly, although the key words there are at reasonable risk. and how do you define that? i think the president is very aware of his own word. when he said that there was a red line here, he now knows if he doesn't act, it's going to be a real problem for his credibility. but i think their hope is to go to what melissa was saying, this is the ideal scenario, which is our i want vention sends a signal not just to assad, but to russia and iran where they say, you know, the u.s. is going to be much more engaged here. maybe it's time to move to negotiation. i think their ideal outcome is that this strike or whatever it turns out to be has enough effect that the people backing assad, if not assad himself decide maybe it's time to go for a negotiated settlement. >> now, melissa, on the one
3:25 pm
hand, iran could say let's negotiate or assad could say it. on the other hand, the british parliament just voted against any kind of action. so where are the united states' allies? because many of us have been opposed to a unilateral move. >> yep. >> can there be a broadening move of more than the united states, given that the british vote. is that a signal that this is going to be complicated? >> i got to tell you, this is one of the things we'll talk about tomorrow morning. but i am irritated by the british vote. obviously they have a right as a sovereign nation to make their own decisions. but the question of british relationship to this area of the world, to the old imperial relationships that created all of these states that don't have the same sort of nation state boundaries that europe has, in other words, where they put peoples who are very different kinds of peoples together into one people because it served the geopolitical interests of
3:26 pm
europe. and then for now all of these decades later for that to begin to fall apart. and for the british to be like well, that's not our problem. it is a serious, particularly as we talk about the moral questions here, it is a serious question about the morality of that intervention. yes we have to i think make a decision separate and apart from whether or not great britain is prepared to be our ally here. >> i'm going to get the rest of that on mhp in the morning. melissa harris-perry, i got to go. e.j. dionne, thank you for your time tonight. catch melissa harry's perry weekends 10:00 a.m. on msnbc. ahead, we're going to the spin zone. why the great republican snub of the march on washington is putting bill o'reilly on the defensive. we'll report. you decide. and president obama's emotional response to seeing the
3:27 pm
butler. i talked to the hollywood groundbreaker lee daniels, coming up. stay with us. [ dennis ] it's always the same dilemma --
3:28 pm
who gets the allstate safe driving bonus check. rock beats scissors! [ chuckles ] wife beats rock. and with two checks a year, everyone wins. [ female announcer ] switch today and get two safe driving bonus checks a year for driving safely. only from allstate. call 866-906-8500 now. [ dennis ] zach really loves his new camera. problem is...this isn't zach.
3:29 pm
it's a friend of a friend who was at zach's party and stole his camera. but zach's got it covered... with allstate renters insurance. [ female announcer ] protect your valuables for as low as $4 a month when you add renters insurance to your allstate auto policy. call 866-906-8500 now. what are you doing? we're switching car insurance. why? because these guys are the cheapest. why? good question. because a cut-rate price could mean cut-rate protection. you should listen to this guy. [ female announcer ] with allstate you get great protection and a great price, plus an agent! drivers who switched saved an average of $498 a year. call now and see how much you can save. just a few more ways allstate is changing car insurance for good. [ female announcer ] call an allstate agent and get a quote now.
3:30 pm
coming up, the greet gop snub. none of the republicans invited to speak at the march on washington bothered to show up. last night, we told you where
3:31 pm
majority leader eric cantor chose to go instead. here he is, rubbing elbows with oil industry lobbyists in north dakota. way to open that tent, gop. and today we're learning more about the other republicans' whereabouts. it's amazing, and it's next. but tracking all the action and hearing everything from our marketing partners, the media and millions of fans on social media can be a challenge. that's why we partnered with hp to build the new nascar fan and media engagement center. hp's technology helps us turn millions of tweets, posts and stories into real-time business insights that help nascar win with our fans.
3:32 pm
i'to guard their manhood with trnew depend shields and guards. the discreet protection that's just for guys. now, it's your turn. get my training tips at
3:33 pm
3:34 pm
we're back with more fallout from the incredible republican snub of the march on washington. today everyone is talking about a big unexpected apology. >> last night during my discussion with james carville about the martin luther king commemoration, i said there were no republican speakers invited. wrong. i was wrong. some republicans were asked to speak. they declined. and that was a mistake. they should have spoken. now, the mistake entirely on me. i simply assumed that since all the speakers were liberal
3:35 pm
democrats, republicans were excluded. so here is the tip of the day. always check out the facts before you make a definitive statement. and when you make a mistake, admit it. by the way, i'm sorry i made that mistake. it's very annoying, because i know you guys watch the factor for accuracy. >> really? people watch "the factor" for accuracy? hmm. sounds like another false statement that needs to be corrected. anyway, we know republicans were invited. so where did they choose to go instead? what was a bigger priority? eric cantor was invited to speak. but as we told you last night, he was found here. here he is in north dakota with oil industry lobbyists. speaker boehner, he was invited to take the podium. but declined. now we know where he was instead. in wyoming, headlining a gop
3:36 pm
fundraiser this month. what about senator john mccain? he was invited to speak. and now we know where he was. during the march, he was at a business roundtable in arizona. so they were too busy with oil lobbyists, donors, and business roundtables. there is that gop outreach at work. joining me now is victoria di francesco soto. thanks for joining me, victoria. >> thanks, rev. >> in his apology, bill o'reilly explain head simply assumed that republicans hadn't been invited. the idea that they would just skip the march seemed too crazy, even to him. i think that says a lot, victoria. >> it does. but this is part of a larger pattern that we have seen. and republicans snubbing democratic nominations, from
3:37 pm
screenings at the white house to state derr dinners. this there is just this partisan divide. republicans do not want to reach over, engage with president obama. and quite frankly, they know their base, their base is going to punish them if they show any signs of wanting to reach out in a bipartisan fashion, even if it's in something so symbolic as the march on washington. >> you know, you're right. over the years we've seen republicans snub the president, ranging from petty to ridiculous. in 2011, 60 newly elected republican house memberers skipped a white house reception. in 2012, 20 republican leaders including speaker boehner skipped a white house screening of a film called "lincoln." and this year republican congressman steve pearce skipped the president's state of the union address to attend a hearing on the lesser prairie chicken. so i mean this is just a whole
3:38 pm
pattern of many of the republicans. and you say it's in reaction to the extremists in their party? >> it is. and what we're seeing here is a lack of civility, a lack of professionalism. and ultimately, a lack for the respect of the office of the presidency. regardless of who is in office, citizens, just regular joe schmos and congress members need to respect that office. and we're seeing this disrespect continually throughout the presidency of barack obama. intercontinental now, you know, let me let you hear how the right wing reacted to the celebration of the march on washington. listen to this. >> grievance mongering does the cause of civil rights no good whatsoever, period. >> all we heard are here are the problems. stop and frisk. here are the problems, trayvon martin. >> multiple references made to trayvon martin. >> it's a near crime what is being done here to take the
3:39 pm
occasion of this man's great address and what he stood for and basically hijack it for president barack obama. if i were president obama, i would be a little embarrassed i can't stand on my own. >> victoria, this is ugly stuff. we're talking about the commemoration wednesday with three presidents. we're not talking about the big march last saturday, raising social issues. for them to talk in that language, and to snub that is some really, really terrible inferences you can draw from that. >> it's surprising, because if you think back historically to 1964, who was there? republicans were there. republicans actually voted to approve the civil rights act at greater proportions than democrats did. in 1964 later that year, they did start to turn their backs on african-americans with barry goldwater and others of the ilk. but where have they been for the
3:40 pm
last 40 to 50 years? where have republicans been. there is a space for them. why don't they return to what they were initially doing for w the civil rights movement? >> victoreria defrancesco soto, we'll have to leave there it. thank you for your time tonight. >> thank you, rev. ahead, what a week it's been. president obama honored the legacy of the civil rights movement and revealed his emotional response to a movie about it. my interview with lee daniels, the director of "the butler" is next. ♪
3:41 pm
♪ we go, go, we don't have to go solo ♪ ♪ fire, fire, you can take me higher ♪ ♪ take me to the mountains, start a revolution ♪ ♪ hold my hand, we can make, we can make a contribution ♪ ♪ brand-new season, keep it in motion ♪ ♪ 'cause the rhyme is the reason ♪ ♪ break through, man, it doesn't matter who you're talking to ♪ [ male announcer ] completely redesigned for whatever you love to do.
3:42 pm
the all-new nissan versa note. your door to more. ♪ r. president obama describes how he felt watching "the butler." and my interview with lee daniels, next. la's known definitely for its traffic, congestion, for the smog. but there are a lot of people that do ride the bus. and now that the buses are running on natural gas, they don't throw out as much pollution into the air. so i feel good. i feel like i'm doing my part to help out the environment.
3:43 pm
plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day men's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for men's health concerns as we age. with 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day men's 50+. female narrator: through labor day at sleep train, female narrator: through labor day get 36 months interest-free financing plus big savings of up to $400 on beautyrest and posturepedic. even get three years interest-free financing on serta icomfort and tempur-pedic, plus free same-day delivery, set-up, and removal of your old set. when brands compete, you save, but this special financing offer ends labor day at sleep train. ♪ sleep train ♪ your ticket to a better night's sleep ♪
3:44 pm
r. it's been a remarkable week, commemorating 50 years since dr. martin luther king's dream speech. signs of progress comes in many forms. sometimes in the struggle for civil rights, sometimes it's leaders breaking new ground. but it also is in the world of arts and culture. and during this week of remembrance, the remarkable true story of a white house butler with the front row seat to our nation's civil rights history is number one at the box office in lee daniels' "the butler."
3:45 pm
eugene allen worked as a butler at the white house for 34 years under every president from truman to reagan. he was there during all the major moments in the civil rights moment. "the washington post" profiled mr. allen just after the 2008 election, capturing his reaction as he voted for the first african-american president-elected to the office. this week president obama reflected on seeing the film, revealing he was moved to tears. >> i teared up just thinking about not just the butlers who worked here in the white house, but an entire generation of people who were talented and skilled, but because of jim crow, because of discrimination, there was only so far they could go. >> the president tearing up over the struggle for equality and how far we have come. the movie features an all-star
3:46 pm
cast. oscar winner forrest whittaker plays the butler. oprah winfrey plays his wife, her first movie in 15 years. cuba gooding jr. plays another butler at the white house. and terrance howard is their next-door neighbor. i recently sat down with lee daniels to talk about the movie and the movement. he is the first african-american producer of an oscar winning film, and a true hollywood groundbreaker. lee, we're so happy to have you on the show tonight. let me ask you, why did you want to make this movie? >> father and son story. father and son story. you know, when i got the script, my son was 13, and he said black, i say white, he say black. i say day, he say night. i say go to bed, he say hell no. and when does it stop. >> right. >> and it transcends, race, you know, the father and son story.
3:47 pm
and it wasn't until i started shooting the movie and we started seeing the atrocities that happened to these kids that i realized it was bigger than a father and son story. it was a movie about civil rights. it's a movie about heroes. >> and it was still a movie about father and son. i mean, how important was it to tell eugene allen's story to you? >> so important, because he was an unspoken hero. and there are so many of us out there that don't know about him. and that don't know about the movement, the civil rights movement. >> you know, as i go through the film, a lot happened that i saw before my time, and then during my time. and it seemed like a lot of what you did with drama would get through that people wouldn't ordinarily see without you distorting it. but without it not being less entertaining. >> try to inject humor wherever i could, because my research told me that the slaves that
3:48 pm
made it over here were laughing, they told jokes. and they told jokes on the fields, in the cot top fields. and during the movement. so i tried to -- try to tell humor, you know. >> it's probably how they survived. let me ask you, how difficult was it to get to make the movie? i understand there was always challenges and funds and all of that. >> it's always hard. i'm surprised i didn't hit you up. you're the only one i probably didn't hit up. it's difficult. it's difficult to get black cinema on screen. it's difficult to get any cinema on screen, especially black cinema. the studios say no, no, no, no, no, no, no, unless it's a specific type of cinema, unless it's a family drama. but we haven't seen this before. we haven't seen a black family like this before, and that was important to me too, to show a black family in a way we haven't seen them before. >> what scene was the most difficult for you to recreate?
3:49 pm
>> oh, i think that bus scene, because on that bridge there were actual lynches that took place. >> yeah. >> and they were -- and i was on the bus with the kids, and i yelled action. and then from nowhere came the kkk and the swastikas and the crosses, and i yelled cut, but they can't hear me because i'm on the bus. and i'm yelling cut, cut, and they're still coming at us, shaking the bus. and i realized at that moment that these kids were heroes, that these kids were heroes. and there was nobody -- there was no director to yell cut. >> wow. >> when that happened. >> as you said, so much of the movie is about father/son relations. let's watch this clip. >> what was the name of that movie, honey? >> "in the heat of the night". >> "in the heat of the night" with sidney poitier. >> sidney poitier is a white
3:50 pm
man's important sensitive what he wants us to be. >> what are you talking about? he just won the academy award. he is breaking down barriers for all of us. >> by being white. by acting white. sidney poitier is nothing but a rich uncle tom. >> look at you. all puffed up, your hat on your head, coming here, saying whatever you want. you need to go. >> what? >> get the hell out of my house. >> now, everybody just sit down. >> i'm sorry, mr. butler. i didn't mean to make fun of your hero. >> everything you are and everything you have is because of that butler. >> why was that dynamic so important to you? >> because everything he was because of that butler, you know. you know, i often wonder. i show mid son the movie. i said -- and he liked it. i was surprised. he gave me props.
3:51 pm
and i said to him, i said isn't this a great achievement for african-american cinema? and he goes no, dad. i mean, it's good, yeah. but not until i see myself as superman. and i thought to myself, this ain't no difference. it's generational. >> that's right. you know, as an all star cast, and what was it like working with forrest whittaker? >> he is -- you know, he taught me how to be humble. he is a very -- he is a humble human being. and it trickled down to everybody else. >> how was it to direct oprah? >> what do you think? what do you think? you know, it took a minute to break through, but once i broke through, she was raw, she was vulnerable, she was fragile. and she was a sister that just reminded me of one of my cousins. >> the movie also portrays many presidents and first lady. let's watch a first clip of that. >> you're very popular around here.
3:52 pm
everyone says you're the man that got them raises and promotions. i had no idea. >> i wish i could take credit for that. >> i'd like to invite you to the state dinner next week. >> i'm going to be there, mrs. reagan. >> not as -- not as a butler, cecil. i'm inviting you as a guest. >> but the president prefers for me to serve him personally. >> don't you worry about ronnie. i'll take care of that. so we'll see you next week, you and your wife. >> my wife? >> it's -- it's gloria, yes? >> yes, ma'am. >> what did you want lee, from the actors playing first ladies and presidents? >> you know, i didn't want to do tricky dick. we'd seen him before. just a glimmer of what they were like, just a moment of the humanity and that they were good
3:53 pm
and they were bad. they were flawed like all of us were. >> you know, the movie comes out at a time where questions are still out. trayvon martin's verdict, the supreme court, and i'll say something to you i hadn't told you. >> uh-oh, uh-oh. >> you and forrest hosted a screening for me and a few board members of the national action network. and i was very touched. i brought my daughter. i was very touched because i knew some of the stuff before me. i knew something about "the butler" and walked out of the screening and actually teared up during a couple the scenes. walked out of the screen, got in the car, and they called me to come to the studio. and i heard the trayvon martin verdict that night. and between "the butler" and that verdict, it was a very weird experience for me. but i think a lot of the way we were able to react was because of the butler and seeing the struggle that we did not want to disgrace was in our minds. so we didn't react as
3:54 pm
emotionally and as out of bounds as people might have thought. >> wow. that day? >> that very night when i left the screening room. the verdict came in about 11:00. and i left y'all about 10:15. and that verdict, trayvon martin, and in the aftermath of that, this movie comes in the theaters tomorrow. i think it will put in context for a lot of people, no matter what their opinion of the verdict, it will put in context what a lot of us bring to look agent this whole situation. >> yeah, yeah. we didn't -- when we did that movie, trayvon, none of that was going on. >> right. >> that was god working. wow. >> i think in many ways that you will give people a great show in entertainment, and in many ways i think you will help bring america together, because we begin to understand each other, then we come together. a lot of what we don't agree on is because we really don't understand each other. and i'm not just talking black and white. i'm talking generations.
3:55 pm
that father and son, one that was the butler and the other that was the militant, i don't want to blow the movie. people need to go and they need to bring their kids to see it and their parents to site. i brought my daughter. i'm glad i did bring her, because i don't know who is right, but i know it was good that we did that together. lee daniels, thank you for coming on the show tonight. >> thank you. >> an honor to have you here. [ male announcer ] when you wear dentures you may not know
3:56 pm
that your mouth is under attack, from food particles and bacteria. try fixodent. it helps create a food seal defense for a clean mouth and kills bacteria for fresh breath. ♪ fixodent, and forget it.
3:57 pm
♪ now you can give yourself a kick in the rear! v8 v-fusion plus energy. natural energy from green tea plus fruits and veggies. need a little kick? ooh! could've had a v8. in the juice aisle.
3:58 pm
it's time for "reply al." remember, friend or foe, i want to know. michelle wants to know, i fully support the fast food workers in their efforts to protest against low wages that they are paid. i'm wondering if it would be more effective for their protests to take place in d.c., preferably on the steps of
3:59 pm
congress, who has failed to do anything. well, i think taking it to d.c. to congress would be effective, certainly. congress needs to do something about the minimum wage and about the workers. i support them as well. but i think they're also being very effective. we're doing it all over the country in many cities at the same time. either way, i think they should be supported. robert says, does mayor bloomberg's legal appeal of stop and frisk amount to blueberry pie all over his face? well, it's certainly very telling about his appeal. when a federal judge says what we say, that it's racial profiling, that it is unconstitutional. when you see the polls in the new york city mayor's race that is going on right now, saying most votes are opposed to the kind of policing going on, and the direction that the mayor has brought the city, it ought to be a wake-up call. and when you can't take a wake-up call, that's when you are exposed of having blueberry
4:00 pm
all over your face. it's one thing to err. it's another to be stubborn and not hear from the people you're trying to govern. and we're not his enemies. some of us have worked with him. but we are not going to be silent if we think something is wrong. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. have a great holiday weekend. "hardball" starts right now. war talk. let's play "hardball." >> good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start with this. it's about killing people. when all the words are spoken, the conversation about needing to enforce a red line to protect an international norm, any decision by president obama to bomb syria will kill people. it will kill the guys


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on